The Importance of Continuing Education in Forklifts
Category: Equipment and Solutions
Forklifts are one of the most crucial pieces of equipment in any warehouse or distribution center. They are also a leading cause of injury in the United States, with about 85 fatal incidents each year. For safety reasons, all users must have a forklift operator license before they can begin using a machine, but companies can see even greater returns when they encourage operators to take forklift training classes for continuing education.
Ongoing forklift safety training can make a drastic difference in safety, productivity and efficiency in the workplace.
Why Continuing Education Is Important for Forklift Operators
There are many reasons why forklift training is beneficial to both operators and employers, with some of the key benefits of ongoing training including:
- Staying up to date: With regular training, you can keep up with any technological or software updates to your forklift. You will also keep up with new OSHA requirements as they are released.
- Minimizing accidents: If your operators have periodic refreshers on the correct way to use machinery, fewer accidents will occur. As forklifts can be dangerous, they should be operated by trained individuals only.
- Maintaining proficiency: It is easy to forget some specifics of forklift operation when you have a lot going on around you. Providing thorough training and ongoing refreshers will help employees remember procedures, hazards and other elements of operation, even in chaotic environments.
- Increasing productivity: Employees who know how to use a forklift correctly can get more done faster. You can streamline your process by avoiding accidents that could halt production.
Forklift training should continue even after an operator meets their forklift certification requirements.
What Should Be Included in Ongoing Training
The Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) requires employers to provide training on operating the vehicle and any potential hazards workers might encounter. This training should be of sufficient depth for the operator to successfully handle the machine and know how to deal with any issues that arise.
Some of the recommended topics include:
- Engine and motor operation, including safety concerns
- Vehicle capacity and stability
- Controls and instrumentation
- Necessary inspections and maintenance
- Identifying malfunctions
OSHA also states that an operator’s performance should be analyzed once every three years, even without an external cause. These requirements ensure that operators stay up to date on their forklift operation knowledge.
Methods for Pursuing Continued Forklift Education
It is up to the employer to decide how to implement their training materials. To encourage continued forklift operator training, consider some of these methods:
- Industry conferences: You can often find seminars and courses at industry-specific conferences. Attending conferences can serve as part of additional training.
- College campuses: Many college campuses offer credited or noncredited courses in construction. These courses can also work as part of a license or certification program.
- OSHA resources: OSHA provides many training and refresher resources for free online. They also have advice on how to create your own training program for your operators.
Contact RAKA to Learn More
RAKA is an industry leader in material handling and distribution. We offer a variety of machines and parts to help your operation run smoothly, as well as comprehensive support to back them up. To learn more about forklift safety or other material handling topics, contact us online and get in touch with an expert.